Lebanon’s crises never end. In the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis that plunged the Lebanese currency to its lowest value ever, a massive explosion rocked Beirut’s port area on Tuesday. More than 100 people were killed, thousands more injured and the surrounding areas, including the heart of the city flattened.
Initial investigation indicates that the blast took place in a port warehouse that contained more than 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a common ingredient in fertiliser that is highly explosive. Reports say the shipment was confiscated five years ago and stored in the port.
In comparison, in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 in the United States, a truck bomb containing 2,180 kilograms (4,800 pounds) ammonium nitrate and fuel brought down a federal building, killed 168 people and wounded hundreds besides flattening several nearby buildings. One tonne of ammonium nitrate is equivalent to 420 Kg of TNT.
Today, we pray for Lebanon. Today, we feel Lebanon’s pain. The beautiful Lebanon. The elegant country, considered for years to be the beacon of arts, literature and freedom in the Arab world. Lebanon and its people deserve better than this
The government has declared a two-week state of emergency in the capital and vowed that those responsible for the blast will be brought to justice. There is no evidence of an attack. Lebanese authorities say it was a massive case of negligence and corruption. The blood of those who lost their lives deserves swift justice.
A resilient nation
As the country, which proved resilient in the face of many calamities over the past several decades, tries to absorb the tragedy and count the human loss, its government must rise to the challenge. The port blast should be a turning point.
The investigation into what happened must lead to a fundamental change in the way Lebanon is run. In few decades, it has degenerated from one of the most developed countries in the Middle East to a failed state.
However, today is a day of mourning and solidarity with Lebanon and its people who continue to endure a crisis after another. Lebanon needs all the help it can get. Many countries, including the UAE, have offered urgent aid.
These are tough times in a country that suffered civil wars, Israeli invasion, rule of armed militias such as Hezbollah endemic corruption and a sever economic crisis.
Lebanon needs urgent help to alleviate the suffering of hundreds of thousands who have been impacted by Tuesday’s tragic event. Field hospitals, medical supplies and staff, and temporary accommodations top the list.
Today, we pray for Lebanon. Today, we feel Lebanon’s pain. The beautiful Lebanon. The elegant country, considered for years to be the beacon of arts, literature and freedom in the Arab world. Lebanon and its people deserve better than this.